Most of the puranas are highly sectarian as is the Shiva Purana, which is one of the longer and larger puranas. It gives an exhaustive account Shiva’s mythic deeds – many of which have become the common mythic currency for many traditional Hindus – as well as instructions for how, where, and when Shiva is to be worshipped.
Although any point along the Ganga can serve as a pilgrimage site, a number of especially powerful thirthas (sacred crossings) along her banks allow pilgrims to cover multiple spiritual bases with a single visit. Banaras is the largest and most visited of these thirthas, presenting itself as Kashi (“the luminous”), an otherworldly abode that rests Shiva’s trident and grants instant liberation to all who die within its boundaries.
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